An ironworker workers comp claim causation can come from a single traumatic accident or lifting incident. For example where an ironworker helps lift some rebar, feels immediate low back pain, perhaps shooting pain down the leg. More likely though, ironworkers work through many days of low back pain until one day it causes the ironworker to see a doctor. In ironworker workers comp cases without a clear single incident, we make what is called an occupational claim. In an occupational claim we prove that the ironworker’s job duties over time contributed to his low back deterioration and present condition and possible back surgery.
Ironworkers help build the structural steel framework of buildings, stadiums, arenas, hospitals, hotels and bridges. Ironworkers unload and set up I-beams to frame buildings; ironworkers place and tie reinforcing steel, rebar, as well as install post-tensioning systems, both of which give strength to the concrete used in piers, footings, slabs, buildings and bridges. Ironworkers cut, weld, drill and fasten steel. They unload, place and fasten metal decking, safety netting and edge rails to facilitate safe working practices.
In order to carry out all these responsibilities, ironworkers endure physical strain and stress which causes back and neck injuries:
• Constantly stand and walk indoors and outdoors on uneven terrain
• Frequently lift and carry tools, equipment and/or metal stock up to 50-75 pounds
• Occasionally climb stairs, ladders and/or scaffolding
• Constantly bend and/or twist at the waist, knees and/or neck while working
• Constantly kneel and/or crouch while performing duties at or near ground level
• Frequently work in awkward positions and cramped spaces
• Constantly use both hands and arms in reaching, handing or grasping, with frequent overhead reaching required while using tools and equipment necessary
Doing physical work 40-50 hours a week over the course of years likely results in an ironworker getting a damaged low back or neck. Ironworker MRI reports of cervical or lumbar spines often show herniated discs, ostephyte formation, bone spurs, ligamentum flavum hypertrophy, neuroforaminal stenosis, spinal canal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis. The IME doctor will claim these signs of spinal damage are simply normal aging or a sign of a pre-existing condition. That is poppycock, as anyone who knows an ironworker, knows how hard they work and the toll the hard work takes on their back and neck.
At McCormick Law Office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin our attorneys have success in representing ironworkers in traumatic and occupational or job duties over time causation workers comp cases. Experience matters for ironworkers, and so it does in their legal representation.